Operations Benefit/Cost Analysis TOPS-BC User's Manual



This document provides guidance on the setup and application of the Tool for Operations Benefit/Cost (TOPS-BC). This User’s Manual provides instruction on the installation and setup of TOPS-BC Version 1.0, instruction for using the basic capabilities, and discussion of adapting the available capabilities to the unique needs of an individual analysis. The TOPS-BC tool was developed to support and complement the guidance developed as part of the FHWA Operations Benefit/Cost Analysis Desk Reference project. The Desk Reference provides more general discussion on the field of B/C analysis and methods for structuring analyses to overcome the many challenges often present when attempting to apply B/C analysis to Operations strategies.

Specifically the TOPS-BC tool was developed to provide key decision support capabilities including: 

  • The ability for users to investigate the expected range of impacts associated with previous deployments and analyses of many TSM&O strategies; 
  • A screening mechanism to help users identify appropriate tools and methodologies for conducting a benefit/cost (B/C) analysis based on their analysis needs; 
  • A framework and default cost data to estimate the life-cycle costs of various TSM&O strategies, including capital, replacement, and continuing operations and maintenance (O&M) costs; and 
  • A framework and suggested impact values for conducting simple sketch planning level B/C analysis for selected TSM&O strategies.

Source Organization Location

Washington, DC

Operations Area of Practice

  • ITS System architecture
  • Strategic Planning
  • Cost / Benefit Analysis

Organizational Capability Element

  • Programming/Budget/Funding
  • Economic Analysis of Reliability/Costs and Benefits
  • Evaluation of Operations Strategies

Role in Organization

  • Associate Engineer
  • Engineer
  • Manager / First Line Supervisor
  • Researcher/Academic
  • Senior Engineer
  • Senior Manager

Publishing Organization

  • FHWA

Document Downloads

Project Website

Operations Benefit/Cost Analysis TOPS-BC User's Manual

Prime Contractor
Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
Doug Sallman, Krista Jeannotte, Rich Margiotta, and Jennifer Strasser
Issue Date
June 15th, 2013
Publication Number
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